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So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's check in. Are you ready for Advent? (Me, neither.)

So let's get organized together! No doubt your children and grandchildren have long lists of toys and electronics they'd love to receive from you for Christmas, but let's slow down a little and think about Advent first. Because in a real sense, Advent is for you. It's your time to ready your home and your heart for the coming of the Christ Child.What would help you? I have a few suggestions: Advent Christmas Grace gives you the opportunity to turn to God in Scripture every d...
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It’s Time to Ask for the Grace We Need

It’s Time to Ask for the Grace We Need

I am deeply in love with Jesus and his Church. It is the reason I started asking my parents to drive me to Mass, even when we didn’t go as a family; it was the reason I decided to go to a Catholic college; and ultimately it is the reason why I felt called to enter the Daughters of St. Paul three years ago and become a religious sister. But over the past few years, people have posed the question to me more than once: “Why would you want to give your life to the Catholic Church, when i...
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The Journey to the Manger

The Journey to the Manger

There are so many Christmas storybooks! You could read your kids a different Christmas storybook each day of Advent for five years and still not exhaust the supply of adventures ending in someone discovering Baby Jesus in a manger! We never seem to run out of ways to arrive at that same manger, and it’s a destination we never seem to tire of! Why is that?I remember a moving conversation I had with a mother whose child was adopted from another country. He’d grown up as the only visibl...
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A Treasure for the Taking: 3 Easy Ways to Help the Holy Souls

A Treasure for the Taking: 3 Easy Ways to Help the Holy Souls

Have you ever heard of the Church’s treasury? It’s not money or the precious artwork in the Vatican museums. No, the Church’s treasury is of infinite value because it contains all the spiritual goods and grace that Jesus himself merited for us. And we can draw from this treasure to help the holy souls! But how?First let’s look at a couple key ideas from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: As members of the Church we belong to the communion of saints. We profess this in ...
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#PutJesusFirst: Enter into God's time this Advent

#PutJesusFirst: Enter into God's time this Advent

It seems to happen every year: people make resolutions to get their Christmas shopping done early, to make sure everything is in place so they can actually find some spirituality throughout Advent… but in reality things get put off, no one’s sure when they “should” be doing anything, and the inevitable happens: Advent feels more and more rushed.It’s a problem. We have a solution.#PutJesusFirst is your go-to planner for all things Advent. It starts well before Adven...
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All Saints and All Souls: contemplating the life we know now and the one to come

All Saints and All Souls: contemplating the life we know now and the one to come

The wind is picking up dead leaves fallen from the trees, swirling them around, making them dance. It feels appropriate, somehow, for our days of the dead—All Saints’ and All Souls’ days—to coincide with the waning of the liturgical year as well as the physically darker days of late autumn. The swirling leaves are just the physical markers of change.October 31 is All Hallows’ Eve, November 1 is All Saints' Day, and November 2 is All Souls’ Day, our own &qu...
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Explaining Faith: Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton, Apologist and "Maker of Converts"

Explaining Faith: Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton, Apologist and "Maker of Converts"

Explaining faith is a difficult task, because faith is separate from intellect. Or... is it? Certainly some of the greatest "apologists"—explainers of the faith—have managed to incorporate the two, and one of those people lived in a time both entirely unlike and entirely like ours—barely a century away from us. His writing hovers over that liminal valley between past and present. He wrote unequivocally about his own time... and just as unequivocally abo...
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 How Meditation on Death Can Change Your Life

How Meditation on Death Can Change Your Life

Several years after joining the convent, I decided to take up the practice of regular meditation on death. As a reminder to meditate on my death, I acquired a small ceramic skull for my desk. I was inspired by Blessed James Alberione, the founder of my religious order, the Daughters of Saint Paul. He kept a skull on his desk as a memento mori to remind him of his death. Every day I would simply look at the skull on my desk and remember that death could come at any time. Then I would bring to pra...
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After Suicide — There's hope for them and for you

After Suicide — There's hope for them and for you

Do those who take their own lives automatically lose their salvation? How can we help those who have lost a loved one to suicide? Addressing the hard issue of suicide simply and pastorally, Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, draws from the teaching of the Church, the message of Divine Mercy, and his own experience of losing his grandmother to suicide in order to offer readers two key forms of hope. With co-author Jason Lewis, MIC, Fr. Chris reveals that there's hope for the salvation of those who've d...
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Dressing Up to Learn About Ourselves: How Halloween Can Prepare Kids for All Saints Day

Dressing Up to Learn About Ourselves: How Halloween Can Prepare Kids for All Saints Day

Halloween!It’s a thrilling night for kids. It’s a time when everyone is allowed to dream big and dress up as someone they are not. And yes… it is also a time for candy. What we often don’t realize, though, is that as we help our kids choose who they want to be for Halloween, we are opening opportunities for them to learn about who they want to be in real life.When I was young, I had a friend whose mom would help her dress as a different saint each year. To...
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